The Reincarnation of Isabel (1973)

AKA Black Magic Rites and Secret Orgies in the 14’th Century, this is one of the Euro Sexy Horror films that is seriously for those looking for something dark and different. Once again, the Delirium team of Director Renato Poselli and actors Micky Hargitay (A Husband of Jayne Mansfield with a great B-Movie history all of his own) and Rita Calderoni help create something out of the ordinary blending an erotic brew of Horror, using plenty of great location shots – The castle in this film was I think was the same one used for Radley Metzger’s classic The Lickerish Quartet as well as an early Hargitay overacting extravaganza, The Bloody Pit of Horror. The film had to wait until the video age for Horror fans in The States to get a look at, but for me it was worth the wait.

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The film opens with a wild dreamlike sequence featuring almost all of the main characters in the film including Hargitay doing a vampire bite on Calderoni and a hot blond on a bed, and as a fan of such films like Nude for Satan, I can say that this opening ranks up there with the most insane mixes of art, sleaze, and low-budget theatrics. All of it may not make a heap of sense, but stay with it as the sacrifice of the virgin in order to reincarnate Isabel will all make some kind of connection to the rest of the story, especially as in The 14’th Century, Isabel was burned at the stake and her lover claimed that she will return. It sets up the moment when we finally get to the plot featuring Mickey and Rita going into the castle as Jack Nelson and his stepdaughter Laureen which still has an Occultist (Raoul…sometimes known as Raul Lovecchio) still residing in it with Gerg, and when the viewer knows of the past in which Isabel and her lover are the past lives of Mr. Nelson and the beautiful step-daughter.

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Of course, as the village, which includes a Girls school that plays a part to this story, has something of a Vampire effect, there are those who want to end it with the usual witch hunting and torture. Being The 70’s, the torture sequences had some added Exploitation to the mix, and there are no complaints there, and throwing in some good performances by Christa Barrymore (Also from Delirium) and Stefania Fasso also helps to spice up the vision. Of course, after setting up a brief storyline, it all goes down to blending a good collection of low-budget Satanic Sleaze with some scenes that will delight students of ritual history before winding up with a finale that includes Jack being a cult leader until being called a monster by his stepdaughter, leading to some crazed attempt at an explanation of what went on through the film, which includes plenty of reincarnation and turning people into vampires…with the viewer possibly wondering if all of that was made up on the spot or just a way of stating on how history repeats itself with very little time to write a very understandable script.

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Once again, the Redemption crew worked on getting a very rare film into a solid video presentation. As the film is rare, the presentation is great to the point where it’s the best it can ever get, with a few moments when the film shows it’s age…although it actually works well for the film in the long run. It’s another great film that was almost “lost” after a very brief original run (and that should have been given a chance in The States.) that deserves to be seen.

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The DVD also includes the trailer. Well-played, of course, but still in fine shape.

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~ by screen13 on July 21, 2009.

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